The Tri-Cities Horseman’s Association is a family-oriented organization that continues to support opportunities for the families of horse lovers to engage with others with similar interests who live in communities ranging from Northern to Central California. Especially reminiscent to residents of Martinez should be the organization’s past participation in the 4th of July parades as members of the organization have participated with their family and their horses, bedecked in all kinds of patriotic garb, flags, and costumes to bring more joy to the Fourth of July festivities.
My wife and daughter have been equestrians all their lives and currently we own three horses. They are both avid trail riders, but were unfamiliar with this organization until I discovered quite accidentally that the horseman’s association would be having an Obstacle Challenge Course for horse and rider teams at the Heather Farms Park Equestrian Center this past weekend, September 12 and 13th.
I occasionally visit Heather Farms Park in Walnut Creek and after driving past the dog playground at the rear of the park, I noticed that there were several large horse trailers and equipment rigs parked at the equestrian center. I was cordially invited by planner Marie Grisham to come back with my wife the following day to become more acquainted with the group. We did and found it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, witnessing how well the horse and rider teams, including those in the novice group, were handling the Covid modified training course. I would suggest that you go to their website at www.tri-citieshorsemen.org where, in their scrapbook, you can see many images of their planned rides and events. Also, you will see photos of current and past events with the horses going through their set up obstacle course. With the present Covid epidemic, there have been modifications to this present obstacle course. But the purpose of this course is to familiarize both the horse and rider to a wide variety of obstacles and situations that both must negotiate safely while on trails, in unfamiliar areas, and or on urban streets.
For example, when young Athena and her horse Rebel are out for a ride, they might discover a large tree branch had fallen down recently on her pathway home, it could be important that her trusty pony not be afraid to step over a large object in her path. And when riders such as Emma (in the blue shirt) and her horse Winsome, or Allison (in the brown shirt) and her horse Rio, might be out on a narrow hillside trail, only discover some bicyclists flying down the hill on their same trail, the skill to move quickly and skillfully to the side of the trail might prove very necessary and prudent! When René was told that her Palomino, Astro, was totally blind with Equine Recurrent Uveitus (an autoimmune disease) commonly referred to as moon-blindness, a lot of people might believe that this was the end of his career. But while under René’s love and care and a lot of special training (like this obstacle course) this beautiful horse has new roads ahead!
There are several types of membership:
- Family – $40 – which includes married and domestic partners and all children under 18 years of age.
- Seniors – $25 – including all those 18 and over and not part of a family membership.
- Junior – $15 – all those 17 and under and not part of a family membership.
In this event there were approximately 30 participants, with riders ranging in age from about 8 to 80, carefully maneuvering their horses, one at a time, socially distanced, down narrow paths, into carefully designed maneuver areas that might be similar to those they would find in unfamiliar riding situations.
The Tri-Cities members normally perform and participate in many fun-filled and educational events right in the equestrian area at the Radke – Martinez Regional Shoreline (waterfront) Park, just beyond the baseball fields on the eastern end of the park. Throughout the year there are normally activities that consist of Gymkhanas (barrel racing and pole bending), play days, obstacle challenges, trail rides, horse camping, barbecues, and family get-togethers.